I live in a society that is largely patriarchal where fathers are mostly concerned with providing the resources to be used in the house in terms of finances and material provisions while mothers primarily focus on taking care of the house and giving birth to/bringing up babies. Hence, most fathers know close to nothing about bringing up babies or raising toddlers. I happen to be one of the few mutants. I try as much as possible to participate in taking care of the house and bringing up my children within the limits permissible by my struggles to provide for the house.
How can you be doing all these? You will just die young!
Well, the discussion is not for today.
There is a popular saying that experience is the best teacher. In science, however, this might not really be the case. Only scientifically verifiable experience can act as the best teacher. By verification, I mean an experience that can be subjected to the scientific method and found to be true, and not just that, but also repeatable under similar conditions.
Ok. So, I have been a bit agitated by the health of my toddler these past few days. He has been having this persistently loud cough that became unbearable for me and I had no option but to take him to the clinic. Not like I have not tried to find remedies to it through different suggestions.
Several home remedy suggestions have been thrown to me by friends, families, and even strangers that have heard him cough a couple of times. From the most absurd to some scientifically logical ones. As a learned person, I sieved off the absurd ones and tried a few of the logical ones but that led me to nowhere. One of the reasonable ones among the advice was to use honey because research has confirmed the antibacterial characteristics of honey a couple of times. After trying out the reasonable home remedies without any success, I eventually decided to go to the hospital.
Down at the hospital, a few questions were asked concerning the kind of lifestyles we live at home and the history of the cough itself. A few hypotheses were drawn upon what could be the cause of the cough. The first one was linked to allergic reactions. backed up by the fact that the floor of our living room is lined with a rug.
The Physician suggested that the cough could be due to an allergic reaction to dust because rugs are known to be absorbers of dust. Generally, floor coverings are known to be both dust producers and magnets, and the fuzzier they are, the more their ability to produce and attract dust. To worsen things, my toddler loves to sleep on the bare rug. Interestingly, the symptoms being shown by my toddler seem to tick all the boxes for dust allergy. Well, that is just one of the hypotheses.
Another hypothesis formulated by the Physician is the probability of the cough being one of the symptoms of asthma. Of course, asthma and dust seem to have a lot in common just as asthma and dust allergy have several symptoms in common. Hence, in a way, the hypothesis also seems plausible. Generally, asthma works by causing the inflammation of the airways thereby making it difficult to breathe. The more severe the asthma is the more difficulty in breathing. I silently prayed that it will not be asthma.
Just before we left the asthma discussion, I was asked if there is a history of asthma in either my family or my wife's family and I answered in the negative. This is because, to the best of my knowledge, I have not witnessed or heard anything like asthma in my family and that of my wife. I could be wrong anyway but I was a bit happy that the probability of the cough being an asthma symptom just lessened. In actual fact, about 3/5 of asthma cases are known to be hereditary and you are 3 - 6 times more likely to develop asthma if either of your parents has the anomaly.
The last hypothesis brought up by the Physician as the cause of the persistently loud cough was due to an infection. Most coughs in toddlers, and even adults, are due to the infection of the upper respiratory tract. This took the mind of both myself and the Physician back to the trending issue worldwide - the covid19 pandemic. At this point, the Physician adjusted her nose mask while I took another look at my toddler. I am somehow certain that it is not covid19 anyway because the cough started long before the first case of the virus in Nigeria.
Covid19 aside, most of the pathogens that cause infections in the upper respiratory tracts are opportunistic. They are part of the normal flora of the body that just suddenly turns virulent due to some physiological changes in the body. Such pathogens include Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Staphylococcus aureus. The physician tried to observe the tonsil of my toddler by asking him to open his mouth wide. After several gimmicks, including inserting a spoon in his mouth, she recorded success and announced that his tonsil is more red than usual which could be an indication of an infection.
At the end of everything, the Physician held on to the strongest hypotheses of the three - asthma - and decided to work with them. She wrote out some tests to be conducted in a nearby medical diagnostic center and, at the same time, wrote out a drug prescription to be purchased in any standard pharmacy. The contents of the prescription include a salbutamol syrup to be taken 1 ml twice daily, a cough syrup (Novalyn linctus). The diagnostic tests to be conducted include a blood test and an asthma test.
I sorted my bill with the clinic and hurriedly went to the nearby pharmacy to get the prescribed drugs before heading to a medical diagnostic center to conduct the tests as recommended. Of course, the result of the test would have to be returned to the Physician and this might determine what the next move would be.
What happened at the diagnostic center? What are the outcomes of the test? How is my toddler faring now?
Make it a date with my next post in continuation of the subject.
Thank you all for reading.